It seems like Special Ethics in Education classes are now safe and thank goodness for that. When I heard the news it was with relief and a sense of victory. Since the committee investigation was announced I was confident that Primary Ethics and their program would be vindicated however there still seems to me to be a significant loss that we would have to bear through the process.
Here’s my problem: Win or lose, in Australia in the 21st century a secular government has used taxpayer time and money to put the worldview of some of its citizens on trial, in public at the behest of a religiously motivated zealot. Continue Reading →
Once again politics and religion have reared their heads and are threatening to derail the Philosophical Ethics alternative to SRE in NSW state schools.
A week or so ago Fred Nile from the Christian Democrat Party came out and announced that he would “torpedo” the State Governments industrial relations legislation in the upper house unless philosophical ethics classes were either:
A. Removed from state schools altogether or;
B. Timetabled so as not to clash with SRE.
Needless to say, these two points are easily addressed from an (ahem) ethical point of view. In regards to Fred’s plan A the point is simply put, a Christian Reverend simply has no business telling secular/atheist/other interested parties what they can and can’t discuss during a period of school time reserved for students to learn more about their own parents/families beliefs and values. The plan B suggestion to move the classes to a non-SRE teaching period is just as pointless of course. A constructive alternative to existing non-SRE is not so constructive when it is not offered as an alternative. Continue Reading →
A couple of years ago I attended our local dawn service for ANZAC day and the local preacher got up and spoke (as he tends to) and for once he wasn’t just boring. It was the year after what we call the Cronulla riots, although I expect people in other countries might laugh at our definition of a riot. The priest spoke at length and then offered a prayer in closing. One of things he prayed for was that we, as Australians showed a bit of restraint and would “beware of excess nationalism”. Continue Reading →
Terry Jones is the pastor from the Dove World Outreach Center who announced last year that he was going to burn the Koran, then said he wouldn’t and then went ahead and did (and I kid you not, after holding a mock trial with himself as presiding judge).
Predictably, this led to violent protest and loss of life in Afghanistan. Who couldn’t have seen that coming?
Now this guy has been briefly arrested because of a planned protest in a Muslim neighbourhood. The question has to be asked: Is Terry Jones just a bit of a fame whore? Continue Reading →
I have a colleague at work who is a little susceptible to woo. She visits pyschics, reads her star signs, buys into alternative medicine and doesn’t mind a bit of mild conspiracy theory to boot. I think this sort of thing has been inculcated early in her life. She has more than once told me that the women in her family are sensitive to psychic stuff (I’m not sure what exactly) which suggests to me she got it from grandma, mum or aunty.
We get on well and have discussions about this stuff and I always hold up the skeptical end of conversation. I have introduced her to cold reading, regression to the mean and many other ways of explaining the mysterious and miraculous. She takes it pretty well, all the time agreeing to disagree.
Coming back from lunch the other day I got a good look at the “problem” with a skeptical outlook. Continue Reading →